Low Sulfur Diet for SIBO: Is It Friendly?
Despite being a healthy element that can be commonly found in food, sulfur is a dangerous element that can lead to catastrophic results for those with SIBO. It turns into foul gas that makes you feel congested.
Excessive intake of sulfur-rich products causes sulfur intolerance. Since this element is in many food products, people with SIBO have to carefully curate their diet to relieve the symptoms.
Do You Need Sulfur At All?
Unfortunately, yes. Albeit the negative side effects, people do need sulfur, which is a type of protein, to maintain a healthy body. Sulfur is present in all animal products. An average adult requires around 50g of protein per day.
Those with SIBO should at least hit the minimum target to avoid suffering from the lack of protein. Adhering to expert advice allows you to nurture your health without the gassy consequences. If sulfur is causing you stomach issues, then sticking to a low-sulfur diet will help.
Food With Low Sulfur Content
The list below shows food items with a low sulfur content that you can incorporate into your diet to alleviate your SIBO symptoms.
- Herbal tea, bottled water
- Avocado, banana, apple, grape, watermelon, lemon, kiwi, peach
- Carrot, eggplant, corn, cucumber, zucchini, artichoke, lettuce, mushroom
- Salmon, dark meat, turkey
- White rice, berries, cinnamon, oat, quinoa
Food With High Sulfur Content
The following food items contain a high level of sulfur that can worsen your SIBO symptoms. It does not mean you have to cut off these items from your diet completely but you should avoid consuming them frequently.
As long as you keep a healthy, balanced diet, you can still enjoy these foods without causing a problem.
- Freshly squeezed juices such as apple juice, grape juice, orange juice, guava juice, beer, wine, milk, well water
- All types of dried fruits like raisins and dried mangos, papaya, pineapple
- Asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, garlic, onions, chives, leeks, seaweed, radish, horseradish, green bean, daikon, soy, nuts, almonds
- Red meat (beef), dairy, eggs, poultry, animal bones, fish
Low Sulfur Recipes
Seeing these ingredients alone can be confusing as you don’t know how to pair them up. These low sulfur recipes are some simple mixes and matches you can do at home with the foods above.
1. Rice Porridge With Mixed Berries
Having a fresh bowl of porridge is refreshing to start the day. Your rice-based porridge can contain any type of wheat you prefer. Have it hot or cold depending on your preference. Sprinkle some mixed berries on top for the sweet and sour taste. Squeeze a little bit of lemon and cinnamon if you want.
You can switch the berries for other recommended food according to your taste. Rice porridge is the easiest to master for anyone that does not particularly enjoy cooking.
2. Grilled Salmon Salad
Salad is a lightweight lunch/dinner for your congested stomach. It does not add too much pressure to your digestion system while keeping you full. Grilled salmon is rich in vitamins. Add your favorite vegetables to it like tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, and corn.
Maintain a balanced portion of the mix by having at least double the vegetables. Get some rooibos tea to make it a neat afternoon tea.
3. Rice Crackers/Biscuits With Guacamole
This is the snack you want when you are having a chill afternoon. You can either grab the guacamole from the supermarket or make it at home to suit your taste. Add a tint of lemon juice, bell pepper, and nuts to enrich the flavors.
Biscuits with guacamole are filling without too much fat. You can consume them at ease. Throw a few slices of salmon on top if you are making it for brunch.
4. Mixed Fruit Juices
From the list of low sulfur ingredients, there are lots of fruit combos you can create. Pick out a few of the fruits and make it a smoothie for enhanced flavors. Combining fruits together gives a stronger taste. Plus, you get double the nutrients.
5. Fruit Yogurt With Pecans On Top
Opt for vegan yogurt if you are lactose intolerant. Get a full scoop and put some fruit cubes on top. You can choose any fruits such as bananas, kiwis, apples, peaches, etc. Put all of them at once if you have too many soon-to-be-expired fruits in the fridge.
Put the pecans on top. Alternatively, you can sprinkle some macadamia nuts if pecans aren’t your thing.
6. Steamed Veggies With Dark Meat Burgers
One thing people tend to forget is that oil can cause huge discomfort to your digestive system. Fried foods and dishes that are soaked in oil are not ideal for those with SIBO. If you are making a burger, pair it with steamed veggies instead of fries.
Steam some green peas, carrots, zucchini, and mushrooms. It sounds dull at first glimpse, but once you pour the burger broth on it, it will be just as delicious. You should be careful not to go for the beef patty as it contains high sulfur. Get a dark meat one and pour some barbecue sauce on it.
7. Butternut Squash Soup
Butternut squash soup is suitable all year round. Some people prefer it hot while some prefer it cold for the cool cream taste. The creamy butternut squash soup keeps your immune system strong and vitals in check.
Grab some unsulfured dried fruits and nuts to make the dish more filling. You can look for the tags in the package to see which ones are unsulfured. It is a wonderful choice for when you are trying to lose weight as well.
8. Zucchini Noodles With Grilled Veggies
Zucchini noodles are an excellent replacement for starch. Their texture is smooth and fine. They don’t give you digestion problems as well. Use a peeler or chop the zucchini into fine pieces and then cook them.
You can put them in ice water if you want to serve the dish cold. However, remember that zucchini noodles will get wet. The only way to keep the dish dry is to use a strainer plate or fully soak the moisture out with kitchen towels. Put some grilled vegetables on the side so it doesn’t seem so monotone. Put a few olives on top to complete the look.
For those that want starch, you can replace the vegetables with grilled sweet potatoes. They are nutritious and good for your stomach. Normal potatoes can be a little heavy for SIBO diet so sweet potatoes are a great option.
9. Stuffed Eggplants With Minced Meat
This is a simple dish with minimal preparation needed. You can get the dark meat chicken patty from the supermarket or make your own with some fine onions. Pick some big eggplants and cut out the middle part. Then, stuff the minced meat in it. You don’t have to empty the entire eggplant. Put it in the oven for the crunching texture.
When you are too busy with work, this recipe can last you for days. You can replace the stuffing with a veggie patty for a fresher taste. Serve together with some poached eggs, avocados, and tomatoes to minimize the greasy aftertaste.
Do You Have To Go Vegetarian/Vegan For Your SIBO?
In most of the SIBO cookbooks and diet guides, you will find information that promotes vegetarianism and veganism. There are endless benefits to going meat-free. But, does that mean you are out of choice? Can you still keep a low sulfur diet for SIBO without giving up meat?
The answer is yes. Although it was mentioned earlier that meat products contain a high level of sulfur, it doesn’t mean you have to strictly avoid any meat consumption. In fact, sulfur is undeniably important to your health. You need a fair level of protein to keep your body functioning.
Meat products have numerous proven health benefits that still cannot be fully replaced by vegetables. Occasionally, if you fail to maintain a balanced vegan diet, you will need to end up relying on supplements to fulfill your vitamin needs. Combining a small portion of meat can be a healthier diet than cutting it out.
While you don’t have to go full vegan and meat does have its health benefits, over-consumption of meat is the number one issue for SIBO. It causes so many digestive issues and upsets your stomach that your body cannot absorb other nutrients efficiently. It is critically dangerous if your body fails to take in nutrients.
What Are The Possible Side Effects Of a Low Sulfur Diet?
Given how important sulfur is, a low level of sulfur can cause just as many health problems as a high level.
You may experience:
- Joint pain
In the worst-case scenarios, the deficiency of sulfur can also lead to:
- Loss of hair
- Nails falling off
- Uncontrollable weight gain/loss
Therefore, despite having SIBO, you should never aim to live without sulfur as the dire consequences can be fatal. When you are conscious of your low sulfur diet, you should be just as careful about attaining the minimum target so your body does not lack this vital protein.
For any complicated medical conditions or if you are unsure about your situation, consult a doctor before moving forward with any diet. Remember that It is essential to know your body well before jumping onboard any diet.
If you experience any sickness after attempting a low sulfur diet, you should pause it immediately and seek medical advice. An extreme change in diet will require an adjustment period for the body. The sickness may arise from it or the particular recipe you have been following is not suitable for your condition.
All in all, a low sulfur diet helps people with SIBO tremendously to reduce the brutal symptoms. That being said, you should not strive for a zero-sulfur diet as your body will need some amount of it to stay healthy.
How Else Can You Maintain a Low Sulfur Level?
Aside from keeping a low sulfur diet, supplements can also lower your sulfur level by increasing your metabolism to get rid of the excess sulfur quicker.
Here are some supplements you can consider.
Keep a Diet Calendar
All these recipes will only work if you plan your meals ahead. Each of these recipes contains different nutritional and sulfur levels. Randomly mixing them without sticking to a schedule can result in an over nourished or a malnourished body.
Plan your meals in advance so you can receive various nutrients equally over a period of time. It is best to avoid using the same ingredients for every meal. Spread them out so you can taste different products.
B vitamins such as B12 and B6 are particularly essential to keep the metabolism going. They increase the speed for your body to absorb most of the nutrients while processing the excess quickly to be out of your system. Taking some B vitamins regularly can alleviate the SIBO symptoms.
A salt bath is de-stressing on its own that can stimulate your circulation for better metabolism. Salt that contains magnesium sulfate can help the body break down the amino acid. Thus, it keeps the pressure away for your body to process the excess amount that can trigger unpleasant SIBO symptoms.
In general, taking a salt bath once to twice a week is sufficient. And every time, the salt bath should not exceed 30 to 45 minutes and must be in a well-ventilated environment to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
A low sulfur diet takes care of the dietary needs of people with SIBO. It is a healthy option to keep your body well without too replying to medicines. The above article serves as the introductory guide to keeping a low sulfur level and a happy stomach.
Try out these recipes and put up a sticker on your fridge of the list of foods to consume and avoid!